Social Security law can be overwhelming and confusing. Within this field of law, there are even special rules that pertain to children. If you are receiving benefits on behalf of a minor, there are several important things that you must know:
- Turning 18: A month before a child turns 18, his Social Security benefits will cease. The exceptions to this rule include children who are disabled and those who are unmarried elementary or secondary school students. If the benefits are stopped, they can be restarted if the child becomes disabled before reaching the age of 22 or if they become a full-time elementary or secondary school student before the age of 19. If any of these occur, you may reapply for benefits.
- School: If your child is a full-time student in elementary or secondary school, he may receive benefits up until the age of 19. If your child turns 19 before the end of the school year, he is entitled to benefits until the end of the term or two months after his 19th birthday, whichever comes first. The child is able to continue to receive benefits during the vacation period so long as the vacation is four months or less and he plans to return to school full time after the vacation period.
- Disability: If your child becomes disabled before the age of 22, he can continue to receive benefits after the age of 18. Your child may also be able to qualify for SSI disability.
- Divorce: If your child is a stepchild who receives benefits based on your work, the child's benefits will cease the month following the divorce finalization. It is required that you report the finalization of your divorce to Social Security.